So that’s what I did. Kept using the iPod without ever plugging it in until it ran out of power. Later that day, picked it up and plugged it into the Mini, hoping to recharge and sync it with iTunes. But what did I see? “Detected an iPod in recovery mode.” I need to restore it, ie. reformat it and resync 80G of music.
In the words of little Noah: “Danke. Danke vielmahl!” (Thanks. Thanks a lot!)